COVID-19: Active cases fall to 3,90,646; states put curbs on Ganesh Puja celebrations

Several states put restrictions on Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Friday with administrations urging devotees and puja committees, especially in Maharashtra, to switch to online puja and darshan on Lord Ganesha

Devotees offer prayers outside Pune's Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati Temple. Photo: ANI/Twitter

India’s active COVID-19 cases declined to 3,90,646 even as the country logged in 34,973 new infections that took its total tally to 3,31,74,954, said data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Friday. Several states put restrictions on Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Friday with administrations urging devotees and puja committees, especially in Maharashtra which witnesses a grand celebration every year, to switch to online puja and darshan on Lord Ganesha.

The COVID-19 death toll rose to 4,42,009 with 260 fresh fatalities on Friday. According to ministry data, the active cases comprise 1.18 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.49 per cent.

A reduction of 2,968 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

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As many as 17,87,611 tests were conducted on Thursday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 53,86,04,854. The daily positivity rate was recorded 1.96 per cent. It has been less than three per cent for last 11 days.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,23,42,299, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.33 per cent. The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive has exceeded 72.37 crore.

Kerala and Maharashtra accounted for a majority of the cases – while Kerala logged in 26,200 new cases and 125 deaths on Thursday, Maharashtra recorded 4,219 new cases and 55 deaths.

Kerala saw a rise in its positivity rate (16.69 per cent) on Thursday. Health minister Veena George said that 90 per cent of people who died of COVID-19 in the state from June 15 had not been vaccinated.

In view of the state recording a resurgence of new cases – 550 on Wednesday, the highest since July 15 – the state government has put curbs on any large-scale celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi festival on Friday. The Mumbai administration has also imposed Section 144 in Mumbai from Friday (September 10) to September 19 to prevent any public celebration of the festival.

“No procession of Ganapati will be allowed and more than five persons can’t gather at a place,” the Mumbai Commissioner’s office has said.

Residents have been strictly asked not to visit ‘mandaps’ and instead participate in the festival online. Organisers have also been urged to conduct online aartis and pujas for the convenience of devotees. Only those vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to volunteer at the puja pandals, the administration has told puja pandal committees.

In Pune, the joint commissioner has urged people to use ‘mobile visarjan’ (immersion) vans for the immersion of the Ganesha idols.

While the Andhra Pradesh government has completely banned the erection of pandals or conduct of immersion processions, the Karnataka government has allowed celebrations to take place only in localities which have a COVID positivity rate of less than 2 per cent.

The state currently has around 50,229 active cases.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.  India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.

(With inputs from agencies)

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